Facebook’s policy change ruins senior tradition

Danielle Tawfik, News Editor

Every year as incoming seniors get ready for their last year of high school, it is very common for them partake in various senior year traditions.

One such tradition is that seniors often say goodbye to their usual Facebook names and creatively incorporate their name into a song lyric, name of a movie, name of a character, or any other clever statement.

Many students spend years considering options for their senior name and look forward to changing it.

“I had been planning to have a senior name since my freshman year,” said senior Jackie Labbe.  “I remember looking at all of the seniors’ names and thinking how exciting it must be to be able to change your name.”

This tradition came about when it became rumored that colleges actually search you on Facebook when considering you for admission.

Whether or not colleges actually consider your Facebook account as part of their admissions decision, it has become a tradition across the East Coast.

However, as many seniors may know, this tradition has recently suffered.  Many seniors are losing their senior names due to Facebook’s safety policy.

Facebook has begun to send individuals with suspicious names a message that asks them if they are using their real name.

“I’m not so sure how Facebook realized I was using a fake name, but I am convinced someone reported my name to them,” said senior Emma Rosenberg.

Reporting is in fact the way Facebook identifies fake names.

The real-name policy crackdown began in September when one user reported hundreds of accounts.

Most of these accounts belonged to LGTBQ individuals. Facebook has apologized for targeting this group.  However, the reports have since expanded to pagans, professional wrestlers, and seniors in high school.

The message that reported users receives gives them the option to either “confirm name” or “update name.”

To confirm your name, the user must send a valid ID to Facebook.  Because seniors do not have any ID’s that can support their fake names, they are forced to update their names to the one they origonally had.

They are given the option to change their names immediately, or wait seven days.

“I thought long and hard before picking my senior name, so I was devastated when Facebook took it away,” said Labbe.

Additionally, this has proved to be problematic for students who have never been comfortable using their real names on Facebook.  Many students choose to put a nickname or a separate name due to the very relevant dangers of stalkers and predators online.

“Facebook is a community where people use their authentic identities. We require people provide the name they use in real life; that way, you always know who you’re connecting with. This helps keep our community safe,” said Facebook’s website.